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Safety at Blow Moulding Machines

Safety at Blow Moulding Machines

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Published by: Marcus on Mar 20, 2012
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This sheet was produced by the Health and SafetyExecutive (HSE) in consultation with the Plastics Processors Health and Safety Liaison Committee. This committeecomprises HSE, employers and employee representatives in the plastics industry. It is one of a series dealing withsafety at specific machines used within the plastics industry.It describes the causes of accidents at blow mouldingmachines and details safeguarding standards, checklists and safety precautions for use during setting.These sheets have been designed to be read inconjunction with Plastics Processing Sheet No 3
Managing machinery safety in small plastics factories 
Accident history
Table 1 shows the number of accidents at blow mouldingmachines reported to HSE from 1992-1996 under theReporting of Injuries, Diseases and DangerousOccurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). It shows thesemachines continue to injure very similar numbers ofemployees each year.
Table 1
Blow moulding machine accidents reported under
Table 2
Causes of accidents
Safety at blow moulding machines
Plastics Processing Sheet No 5
RIDDOR 1992/93-1995/96
Year 92/93 93/94 94/95 95/96 
All 53 51 69 46Major 5 7 4 5
Causes of accidents
Nearly 80 accidents on blow moulding machines wereinvestigated by HSE inspectors from 1986-1996.Table 2 summarises the parts of the machine and thecircumstances involved.Most of the failings can be reduced to one of thefollowing basic types:
inadequate safeguarding fitted;
the safeguarding had been removed, damaged,defeated or fallen into disrepair; or
the safeguarding had been overriden, usually forsetting or maintenance.
Guarding standards for production
Part causing injury Cause/reason 
Mould tools 28 Reaching beneath guards to adjust when settingGuard removed during settingInterlocks inadequate or poorly maintainedOther105310Discharge area/conveyor/swing arm 16 Holes in guards to allow removal of fallen articlesGuards defeated for same reasonOther736Trimming area 11 Gaps in or under guards giving access to removeflashInadequate interlockingOther515Blow pins 5 Access for adjustment through inadequate guardsGuards removed32Mould carriage (from extruding to blow station) 4 Trap between it and fixed parts when setting withoverride keyInadequate interlocking to hydraulic or pneumaticchannel22Preform area 2 Access via poorly guarded area on top of machinefor adjustment 2Stripper plate 1 Trapped when servicing: air dumped byemergency stop 1Other (extruder, hopper, cooling fan) 3 Various 3Insufficient detail to classify 7
The standards outlined in Table 3 describe commonly accepted and practicable safeguards for the significanthazards on blow moulding machines supplied before February 1996. On 15 February 1996 European Standard BSEN 422:1996 was published and came into effect for new blow moulding machines.
Table 3
Dangerous moving
parts in the mould areaOther dangerous
moving parts
Dangerous moving partswhich can be reachedthrough the deliveryaperturePower-operated guards
Guarding interlocked with the drive(s) (pneumatic, hydraulic or electrical) for the dangerous partsand sufficient fixed guarding to complete the enclosure. The interlocking system should be dualchannel and both channels should be monitored to prevent any further dangerous movement if afault is detected.If not protected by the guarding systems specified for the mould area, use:
fixed guarding; or
distance guarding positioned to take account of safety distances to prevent the operatorreaching the danger zone; or
single-channel interlocked guarding, monitored to prevent any further dangerous movement if afault is detected.
. . . and for large machines**
A monitored, person-sensing safety device should be installed, eg:
a pressure-sensitive mat which extends between the moulds; or
an electro-sensitive device; or
a mechanical latch which prevents involuntary guard closure and which can only be releasedfrom outside the mould area.Having triggered such a device, it should be necessary to do one of the following before initiatinganother cycle:
reset the safety devices;
close the guards; and
actuate an enabling device to confirm the danger area is clear.Reset and enabling device actuation positions should provide a clear view of the danger areas.
It should not be possible to actuate the enabling device from the danger area.
Accessible emergency stops should be fitted on both sides of the mould. At
large rotary machines 
they should be placed at intervals of 2 m or less inside the danger area.If not protected by the guarding systems specified for the mould area, use:
fixed guarding; or
distance guarding positioned to take account of safety distances to prevent the operatorreaching the danger zone; or
interlocked product delivery systems, monitored to prevent any further dangerous movement if afault is detected. Such product delivery systems would include:-single-channel interlocked guarding, consisting of outward opening doors which are activatedto let articles out but otherwise act as an interlocked guard; or-
two electro-sensitive sensing units arranged so they let articles out but prevent access; or-
other equally effective means, eg pressure-sensitive mats built into the delivery system orscanning devices.
sensitive edges (fitted on both sides of the guard) which arrests or reverses guard closure;
a reduced-pressure closing system.
Burns at hot surfaces
. . . and for large machines**
Where the additional safety devices required at large machines are fitted in conjunction with guardsclosing under power, the closing movement should be actuated by a hold-to-run control device.This should be positioned outside the guarded area and give a clear view of the danger area.Hot parts above 80
C need to be protected against accidental contact using guards or insulation.Where hot parts are necessarily exposed (eg moulds) warning signs are required.Not all the hazards in Table 3 will exist on all machines and some safeguards will protect more than one hazard, eg oneinterlocking guard with associated fixed guarding could prevent access to the mould area, cutting area, blowing station, coolingstation, finishing station etc. If this is the case, the standard of protection needed for the most highly rated hazard should beapplied to the whole safeguarding system.* ‘Dangerous parts’ for the purpose of this sheet includes the following where they are present on a given machine: moulds andassociated drive mechanisms, cutting devices, blowing nozzle or mandrel, elongation rods, cooling moulds and associated drivemechanisms, cooling mandrel, any dangerous parts at the finishing station, apparatus for handling preforms at the heating area,devices for taking off or rejecting parisons, injection unit movement, withdrawal apparatus and transfer devices, preform feedingdevices and transport mechanisms.** A ‘large machine’ is one where a person can gain bodily entry between the guards and the machine
where that personcannot be seen in all positions from the operator’s panel.
Safety checks
Can the dangerous partsso stopped be started withthe guards open?About 50% of accidents at blow moulding machineshappen because of inadequate or damaged
On power-operated guard(s), do either the sensitivesafeguarding and about another 25% are because ofedges or the reduced-pressure closing systemdefeated safeguards. The following minimum checksoperate correctly?should be made to ensure that safety is maintained (youmay also want to refer to the manufacturer’s manual for
Does operation of the emergency stop(s) halt alladditional detail).
movement of the machine?
Operational checks 
(suggested frequency: daily/after 
Is it possible to operate any dangerous parts after
mould change)
activation of the emergency stop(s) before themachine is reset?
Are all fixed and interlocked guards in place andsecure?
If fitted, are the mechanical restraints in goodcondition, properly adjusted and functioning
Are all control unit enclosures closed, locked and thecorrectly?keys removed?
Are control unit enclosures closed, locked and the
If fitted, and with the machine at rest, does breakingkeys removed and retained by a designated person?the electro-sensitive curtain with the test piece causethe indicator to change state?
Is movement of dangerous parts prevented while
a test piece is between the electro-sensitive
If a pressure-sensitive mat is fitted then, with thecurtain
an actuating force applied to the pressure-power on and the machine at rest, does thesensitive mat sensing area?pressure-sensitive mat indicator work when the matis stepped on?
Does removal of power to the electro-sensitive device
pressure-sensitive mat prevent further
Maintenance checks 
(suggested frequency: monthly)
operation of the machine and reactivation until power is restored and the device reset?
Are all fixed guards held in place with fastenings thatrequire a tool to undo them?
From a visual inspection, is any of the exposedelectrical wiring showing any signs of damage?
Are all interlocking devices correctly aligned andsecurely attached to the guards?
Are all the hot surfaces, including hot connectinghoses of the temperature control circuit, that are
Does opening any interlocked guard door
external to guarded areas of the machine, protectedimmediately stop the dangerous parts it protects?
by fixed guards or insulation?

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